Gillham History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Gillham is one of the thousands of new names that the Norman Conquest of 1066 brought to England. It comes from the Old French given name Guillaume. The name Guillaume was modified into two forms after arriving in England: Gillham and William.

Early Origins of the Gillham family

The surname Gillham was first found in Suffolk where Giliana was listed in the Feet of Fines in 1198. [1] Many of the family stayed in Normandy as in the same year, Udon Galien was listed there. [2] Due the prevalence to the often personal name, the name was scattered in early censuses as show by the Rotuli Hundredorum of 1279 which listed Gilianus de Levekenore Buckinghamshire and Adam filius Jellion in Cheshire. [1]

Years later the Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls of 1379 listed the name as both a personal name and a surname: Petnis Gillam; Willelmus Giliam; Giliaum Spyser, 1379; and Ricardus Gillumman, i.e. the servant of Gillura. [3]

Early History of the Gillham family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Gillham research. Another 95 words (7 lines of text) covering the years 1276, 1283, 1379, 1524, 1636, 1682, 1665, 1701, 1690 and 1699 are included under the topic Early Gillham History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Gillham Spelling Variations

Before the advent of the printing press and the first dictionaries, the English language was not standardized. Sound was what guided spelling in the Middle Ages, so one person's name was often recorded under several variations during a single lifetime. Spelling variations were common, even among the names of the most literate people. Known variations of the Gillham family name include Gillham, Gillam, Gilliam, Gilham, Gillem, Gillum, Giliam, Gwillam, Gwillham, Gwilliam, Gwilham, Gyllham, Gylham and many more.

Early Notables of the Gillham family (pre 1700)

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was Zachariah Gillam (Guillam) (1636-1682) American sea captain involved in the early days of the Hudson's Bay Company. Benjamin Gillam, American sea captain, brother of Zachariah, who in 1665 commanded the Charles which brought Radisson and Groseilliers to England where they began the foundation of the Hudson's Bay Company; and James Gilliam, also known as James Kelly, (died 1701), an English pirate active in...
Another 70 words (5 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Gillham Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Gillham Ranking

In the United States, the name Gillham is the 15,824th most popular surname with an estimated 2,487 people with that name. [4]


Australia Gillham migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Gillham Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century

West Indies Gillham migration to West Indies +

The British first settled the British West Indies around 1604. They made many attempts but failed in some to establish settlements on the Islands including Saint Lucia and Grenada. By 1627 they had managed to establish settlements on St. Kitts (St. Christopher) and Barbados, but by 1641 the Spanish had moved in and destroyed some of these including those at Providence Island. The British continued to expand the settlements including setting the First Federation in the British West Indies by 1674; some of the islands include Barbados, Bermuda, Cayman Island, Turks and Caicos, Jamaica and Belize then known as British Honduras. By the 1960's many of the islands became independent after the West Indies Federation which existed from 1958 to 1962 failed due to internal political conflicts. After this a number of Eastern Caribbean islands formed a free association. [7]
Gillham Settlers in West Indies in the 17th Century
  • Emanuel Gillham, who settled in Barbados in 1679

Contemporary Notables of the name Gillham (post 1700) +

  • Art Gillham (1895-1961), American songwriter
  • Ronald F. Gillham, American politician, Mayor of Huntington Woods, Michigan, 1981-, 2011- [8]
  • M. Corsen Gillham, American politician, Member of New Jersey State House of Assembly from Bergen County, 1878 [8]
  • J. F. Gillham (d. 1958), American Republican politician, Circuit Judge in Illinois 3rd Circuit, 1919-25; Delegate to Republican National Convention from Illinois, 1928 [8]
  • Dr. Mary Eleanor Gillham (b. 1921), English naturalist, university lecturer, and writer


  1. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  2. ^ The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X)
  3. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  4. ^ https://namecensus.com/most_common_surnames.htm
  5. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 12th August 2021). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/dunvegan-castle
  6. ^ South Australian Register Thursday 26th April 1855. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) Caroline 1855. Retrieved http://www.theshipslist.com/ships/australia/caroline1855.shtml
  7. ^ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_West_Indies
  8. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, November 9) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html


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